Review by Forman_

Reviewed: 09/25/01 | Updated: 09/25/01

By the gods!

Greetings and salutations, fellow punters! The fact that you're here means that you'd like old uncle Forman's opinions on this highly hyped and anticipated beat em up, right? If not, feel free to go away and boil chestnuts or something. For the rest of you, come listen to my tale of mystery and madness...

You know, life's a funny thing. The first CvS was more or less regarded as a decent, if unspectacular fighting game. Even so, I still enjoyed it quite a bit.

The biggest asset it had, in the minds of most players, was characters from two of the best fighting game companies ever to slap data on silicon and CD's. SNK fans had the pleasure of seeing their fighters with new, shiny sprites, an irritating amount of missing moves and the joy of having all their best tactics broken over Capcom's unforgiving knee of gameplay.

Capcom fans, on the other hand, had the joy of one or two new sprites, no MP or MK, and a Ryu that was no longer the all round character he used to be: he was, in essence, a complete sod who should probably have been the boss. Considering what had happened to Kyo, SNK fans gnashed their teeth and waved their fists angrily at Capcom.

Did Capcom care?

Well, looking at Capcom vs SNK 2, the all new and spankingly shiny sequel, the answer is... yes. They cared a lot.

I only got the game this morning, believe it or not. After the cheery postman handed me the package it was in, I bid him a happy goodbye, pulled my dog's jaws open long enough to tear the beast from his leg, closed the door, and set upon ripping the package open with my teeth. Having succeeded in this colossal task, I took one moment to sneer nastily at the inappropriate cover illustration, joyously slammed the game into my DC and sat in open eyed wonder as it started up. Then the announcer spoke his lines, I laughed at his enthusiastic if lispy accent, and so began my gamefest...

In all honesty, the very first impression I had of the game was a somewhat off. Picking Kyo against Ryu and hopping into training mode, the gameplay seemed... different, and indeed it was. Kyo's close in HP refusing to link into his Dokugami punches was the first thing I noticed, and pulling off the stock break in N groove was giving me grief...

I was slightly irritated by this uncalled for transgression against Kyo, and found myself prematurely unimpressed by the changed timing and feeling of impact the game had. I liked the first one, remember?

Within half an hour, having tested a bunch more characters, I found you only have to press HP and HK to do the stock break, and Kyo's ducking HP links nicely into his Dokugami. Bonus!

After this, I decided to actually play the game, whopped the difficulty right up to level 8, and went to show my stuff against the CPU.

Five hour later, I sort of remembered that I was alive and actually had to breath, eat and other crappy stuff like that. The had game sucked in my attention like a hurricane sucks up anything unfortunate or stupid enough to get in its way, and I didn't give a damn. The main difference was that I'd enjoyed being sucked into the belly of this beast.

Elaborate? Certainly... specifics only, I tend to get bored writing long, drawn out reviews.

Graphics:

While I wasn't exactly blown away by their sheer brilliance at first, I've got used to them and they do their job wonderfully. Animation's nice, smooth, crispy, sexually arousing, whatever the hell you want to say about it. There are one or two bad points, such as slightly jaggy characters contrasting against the background, Morrigan's old sprite back to plague us like a curse, and Ryo's not got his KOF Tiger stance. Which, for some reason, SF fans attack KOF fans for preferring over his old style.

How strange. I'm sure they'd absolutely love it if Ken or Ryu pranced around like a schoolgirl. Still, it ain't that big a deal. Hardly a deal at all, in fact.

One thing I'm not that enthusiastic about either is the lack of backgrounds and some of the character art. Thought Capcom couldn't draw Kyo any worse? You're wrong. Think SNK couldn't fail to make Shin Akuma thoroughly nasty and evil looking? You're wrong again. He looks like an overly happy Rik Mayall who's just been set ablaze.

As for the backgrounds, some of them are brilliant, but there should have been more. Burning and raining Osaka are excellent, as are the windmill and London stages (anyone notice they messed up the English Flag? They've merely changed the Scottish one to the English colours). The rotating stage is pretty crap and looks a lot like the 'Baloon' one, but the desert stage reclaims their honour.

Problem is, there isn't enough. I loved Geese's stage from the first one, and Ainu was one of my favourite stages of all time. Bison's stage had character, Terry's stage was excellent, and the Dojo was pretty cool too. Ryu and Kyo's Osaka temple one and the arcade street were very cool too, and only about two stages in this game really compete with the old ones.

Who knows, perhaps I'll warm to them all before long, but as of now, I think Cvs 1 had more interesting backgrounds.

Still, all these down points are scraping the bottom of the barrel: they're still extremely well done, just that a little character injected into each of them would have helped.

Sound:

Dancy, upbeat music is always a plus and can really kick a game along. Last Blade 2, while a great game, had the slowest, most adrenaline sapping music ever. Atmospheric, yes, but it kicked the action orientated side of things in the nuts.

Fortunately, Capcom have provided music you can actually fight to. Better than the worst KOF tunes, although not quite up there with the best. Esaka, Tears and the like are still better, as are the AOF team and a few others. Yet compared to the 98 Athena team (NOT the 96 one), it's a godsend to have this CvS2 music playing away.

As with most things though, this is merely a matter of taste. Character voices are usually extremely well done, but what happened to Cammy? AGH!

Gameplay:

Ahar! This is where it really shines. No longer can KOF players like myself whine about no decent SNK grooves or lack of moves. No longer can SF3 players moan that they'd murder everyone if they just had parrying. For you see, my friends, all styles are accomodated in this game through the inclusion of 6 grooves... which you can find out about in detail in another review.

Is Parrying better than Just defence? Is Alpha 3's combo meter style better than KOF 98's? Go find out by buying this game!

If you're a MvC player though, you won't find several billion hit combos here, so test before you buy. If you're a real player though, this is heaven on earth. Ryu's been toned down, no more cruddy 'sweep into Shin Shoryuken' wins will be agonised over. Sure, you can still do it, but the SSK does pretty much NO damage. Others have been beefed up, and a lot of the newcomers are welcome faces! Rock in particular kicks ass, though Blue Mary, Leona and Vanessa would have been great additions too. Regina from Dino Crisis should be here too, albeit made in a sensible way: then at least some of the Capcom squad would have weapons, a la Haohmaru, Hibiki and Nakoruru.

I won't go in depth here: go to Shoryuken.com for an in depth look at the characters that made it, what the grooves are, and all sorts of wonderful gameplay related goodies.

Oh, and the bosses are finally bosses. Let's be honest, Geese and Bison were no harder than normal characters in the first game. That's changed: God Rugal and Shin Akuma are pretty handy with their powers, Rugal probably being the harder of the two: he falls for less, does more damage, and his timing is excellent. Akuma does crazy combos, but his fondness for fireballs gets him killed if you play it cool and take advantage of him when he's off guard.

Still, these two are very cool to fight, especially with their burning background.

Noticed I haven't graded the individual segments? That's cause overall the game deserves what it deserves, and what it deserves is a 9 or a 10.

Gyah, I'm feeling generous. Here's a big spanking ten for ya, Capcom. Excellent job!

Overall: 10 out of 10.

Why? Well, I've been up for an unbelievable amount of time playing the beast, stopping only for the bare necessities along the way, and I'm typing this out while I'm so damn tired I can barely see the screen, thus excusing my crap literary skills.

Any game that does that pretty much has to be deserving of a ten. I won't bother comparing it against other beat em ups, but I will say that it's up there with the best.

Enjoy life, fellow humans!


Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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